There is a good piece today at The Catholic Thing which looks at denial of Holy Communion to obstinate public supporters of abortion. The writer brings up the example of the late Archbp. Rummel of New Orleans who, in the early 60’s, desegregated all Catholic schools. Segregationists were furious, loudly protested that God wanted segregation, and threatened blowback. The Archbishop excommunicated them. Today, no one – NO BISHOP says, “I wouldn’t have done what Rummel did because I can’t read the soul of those segregationists.” Today, no one – NO BISHOP – says, “I wouldn’t have condemned members of the Nazi party in the 1930s because I can’t see their souls. Von Gallen was wrong.”
Plenty of people at the time seem to have been convinced that Rummel’s excommunications would be “pointless,” that he was just “making things worse” and “exacerbating the tensions in New Orleans.” Perhaps he did. But no one dares say it now. No one condemns Rummel in retrospect with the claim that “there were other equally important priorities in the Church – not just that one issue alone.” [That’s what the Left, the Fishwrap types, always do. They reduce the right to be born into a minestra of other social issues. But before all other issues, the right to be born in the first place must take precedence. It is patently unfair to accuse those to emphasize the right to be born of not caring about other issues.]
People do say how, however, rather vehemently, that the Catholic bishops of Germany should have “done more,” been “less accommodating,” and excommunicated more people during the Holocaust. But wasn’t excommunicating the entire Nazi leadership in 1931 and banning Catholics from joining the party “politicizing the Eucharist”? [Exactly.] They banned Catholics from joining a political party! How could they “look into the souls” of each of those German citizens to judge why they were joining the National Socialists? Perhaps they just believed in the “worker’s movement” (the Nazis were, after all, as their name indicated, national socialists)?
I sometimes ask my students, “Did the German bishops violate the ‘separation of Church and state’ when they excommunicated members of the Nazi Party?” No, they all agree. “Would an American bishop be violating the ‘separation of Church and state’ if he dared to excommunicate a Catholic politician who had repeatedly and publicly supported access to abortion up to the moment of birth – including late-term, ‘partial-birth’ abortions?” Most don’t like this. “Why one and not the other?” “It’s different,” they claim.
Virtually every bishop says, “I can’t read the soul of Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden, so I won’t apply can. 915 if they come to my diocese.”
The criterion for denial of Communion rests NOT being able to “see the soul” of another person. The criterion is the open, known, obstinate, public words and actions of that person. If a person has committed public scandal in a grave matter, that scandal has to be publicly addressed by the Church’s shepherds. That’s why we have cann. 915 and 916.
These days the spine-challenged wring their hands and croon that we have to all get along and be nice and not upset anyone. We have to tone down the rhetoric. We can’t deny Communion to anyone because that will make people sad.
Ten years ago, I wrote a piece, still pinned in the list of pages at the bottom of this blog’s main page, wherein I state that we cannot “tone down the rhetoric” and “just get along” when it comes to a critically important issue: abortion. I made a connection to the civil rights movement. HERE
I suggest that you read the whole piece over at The Catholic Thing. Remember it when someone says that we shouldn’t politicize the Eucharist.